Protecting Yellowstone Wolves

  • By: Carmen Long
  • Target: Help us convince Montana's government officials to protect wolves from trapping and/or hunting in areas adjacent to Yellowstone National Park.

The purpose of this page is to raise awareness about the factors affecting the wolf packs inhabiting Yellowstone National Park (YNP). As of December 2012, eight wolves collared by researches and four non-collared wolves were killed by hunters outside the park’s boundary. Please note that we are not condemning hunting activities and that the killings occurred legally under Montana state law. Conservation organizations are asking to increase protection areas surrounding the park’s immediate boundaries to ensure these packs are not targets of trapping and/or hunting practices.

A brief history: After mass extermination in the 1900 – 1920s, wolves were eliminated from their natural habitat as these were viewed as pests. Further studies taking place in the 1940s relating predator-prey ecology built scientific evidence emphasizing the need for wolf conservation. In 1995 and under large controversy, 14 wolves selected from multiple packs from Canada were released into the park. In 1996, an additional 17 wolves were released into the park; thus completing a balanced number of specimens for natural reproduction and survival, which has been studied and monitored by scientists, conservation volunteers and park officials. In addition to daily observations (when wolves are within view), typically alpha members of the different packs are fitted with VHF or GPS collars so the packs can be tracked and studied.

Since the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park, yielded data has shown a positive impact in the park’s ecosystem (http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/archives/2011/dec/yellowstone-transformed-15-years-after-return-wolves), as well as a positive economic impact (http://www.georgewright.org/251duffield.pdf).

How can we help protect these wolf packs?

IMMEDIATE ACTION IT’S NEEDED AS THERE WILL BE A HEARING ON JANUARY 14 IN LIVINGSTON, MT TO DISCUSS THIS MATTER.

We need to write petitions, emails or letters to Montana’s government officials and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission asking to:

1. Permanently limit the trapping/hunting wolves’ quota in ALL areas adjacent to Yellowstone National Park. This may require modifications to the Wolf Management Units neighboring Yellowstone National Park.

2. Permanently close Wolf Management Units WMU-13 and WMU-16. These are the sections were most of the wolves from YNP were killed.
As noted in this map provided by the Fish Wildlife & Parks Commission, the areas requested for protection are minimal compared to the large area available to hunters. Areas of interest are at the bottom of this map, adjacent to Yellowstone National Park (Blue color). You will have to hover over the map to view these sections. We believe this would be a fair compromise for both sides: http://fwp.mt.gov/hunting/planahunt/huntingGuides/wolf/default.html.

3. Make it illegal to shoot collared wolves as these animals play an integral role within the wolf packs of Yellowstone National Park, research and monitoring.

Let your voice be heard!

Your comments will be sent to the following government officials:
Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks Director Hagener: jhagener@mt.gov
Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks Commissioners: fwpcomm@mt.gov
Montana Governor Bullock: governor@mt.gov
The governor's Natural Resources Advisor, Tim Baker: tbaker@mt.gov

Respectable Governor of Montana and Fish Wildlife and Parks Officials,


We request your support to protect the wolf packs inhabiting Yellowstone National Park as these animals play a positive and essential role in the overall ecosystem of the park.  Several studies since their re-introduction had established that these wolves bring a positive impact to this park's ecosystem as well as a positive socio-economic impact.  Through public awareness and working with farmers as well as the hunting community, we pledge for a fair protection plan as noted below.


1. Permanently limit the trapping/hunting wolves’ quota in ALL areas adjacent to Yellowstone National Park. This may require modifications to the Wolf Management Units neighboring Yellowstone National Park.

2. Permanently close Wolf Management Units WMU-13 and WMU-16. Or, as an alternative, create a combined quota of 3 wolves in the combined areas WMU 316/313.  These are the sections were most of the wolves from YNP were killed.

3. Make it illegal to shoot collared wolves as these animals play an integral role within the wolf packs of Yellowstone National Park, research and monitoring. This has been previously requested by various conservations organizations as well as concerned citizens.

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